201, 225 Manning Road NE. It may be held via videoconference despite the
fact that Calgary has three RPD Members (Mr. Darcy Tkachuk, Ms. Bindu
Narula, and Ms. Preeti Adhopia).
An interpreter (if necessary) will be provided by the Board and
interpretation can be provided by videoconference, teleconference, or in
It is important for the claimant to check in with reception 30 minutes
before the scheduled start time.
The claimant should ensure that original documents are brought to the
hearing for the presiding Member to review.
An "Exhibit List" (at least in the Western Region) is generally provided
to counsel/self-represented claimants prior to the hearing and
references the Personal Information Form(s) (generally Exhibit "1"),
information from CIC/CBSA (the Port of Entry materials and the referral
interview), the Screening Form (which identifies important/determinative
issues such as state protection and IFA) as well as the National
Documentation Package containing country condition information.
Disclosure of documents intended for use at the hearing must comply with
the RPD Rules and should be submitted at least 20 days before the
The hearing begins by the presiding Member and counsel canvassing some
preliminary issues. The claimant is then sworn in and the PIF is
The presiding Member or the tribunal officer (not normally assigned in
the Calgary office to a hearing) begins the questioning of the claimant.
It's important that the claimant doesn't speculate or guess. "I don't
know" or "I don't remember" are perfectly acceptable responses.
Counsel then follows with questions or moves directly to submissions,
keeping in mind issues that have arisen during the course of the
The preparation of the claimant by counsel is important. Statistics from
the US indicate a wide disparity in acceptance rates between
unrepresented and represented refugee/asylum claimants.
The basic refugee questions are the following:
* What do you fear in X?;
* Why are you at risk?;
* Who do you fear?;
* Did you go to the police or the authorities in your country?;
* Why can't you get protection from the authorities?;
* Is there somewhere you can go in your own country and be
* Why are you at risk in all parts of your country?
Of course, additional questions arise given the responses, and questions
dealing with credibility are very important. The claimant may be asked
questions dealing with inconsistencies between his or her testimony, the
PIF or PIF narrative, claimant's documents or country condition
information. Plausibility, inconsistency and omission are all relevant.
It's important to note that victims of crime are not generally refugees
and don't fall within the definition of a Convention Refugee or a Person
in Need of Protection. Additionally, claimants must generally approach
own state for protection (unless the state itself is the agent of
persecution) and then show the state is unwilling/unable to provide
protection or that it would not be reasonably forthcoming. The 'burden'
of displacing the presumption of state protection increases where the
claimant is from a democratic or 'rule of law' country. Internal Flight
Alternative (or IFA) tends to be another determinative issue. If there
is an area where the claimant can go to and be safe (and is "reasonable"
in the circumstances) that claimant will be denied refugee protection.
Two IRB/RPD publications are important to review: Interpretation of the
Convention Refugee Definition in the Case Law and Assessment of
Credibility in Claims for Refugee Protection. Both are available on the